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Richard III

Richard III Translation Act 2, Scene 4

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Enter the ARCHBISHOP of York, the young duke of YORK, QUEEN ELIZABETH, and the old DUCHESS of York

ARCHBISHOP

Last night, I hear, they lay at Stony Stratford,And at Northampton they do rest tonight.Tomorrow or next day they will be here.

ARCHBISHOP

I hear that last night they slept at Stony Stratford, and tonight they'll rest in Northampton. Tomorrow or the next day they'll be here.

DUCHESS

I long with all my heart to see the prince. I hope he is much grown since last I saw him.

DUCHESS

I long with all my heart to see the prince. I hope he's grown a lot since the last time I saw him.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

But I hear no; they say my son of YorkHas almost overta'en him in his growth.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

I heard he hasn't though. They say that my son of York has almost passed him in height.

YORK

Ay, mother, but I would not have it so.

YORK

Yes, Mother, but I wish it weren't so.

DUCHESS

Why, my young cousin? It is good to grow.

DUCHESS

Why, my child? It is good to grow.

YORK

Grandam, one night as we did sit at supper, My uncle Rivers talked how I did grow More than my brother: “Ay,” quoth my uncle Gloucester, “Small herbs have grace; great weeds do grow apace.” And since, methinks I would not grow so fast Because sweet flowers are slow and weeds make haste.

YORK

Grandmother, one night while we were eating dinner, my uncle Rivers mentioned that I had grown more than my brother. "Yes," said my uncle Richard, "Small herbs grow with grace, while big weeds grow quickly." And since then, I've wished that I wouldn't grow so fast, because sweet flowers are slow, and weeds are hasty.

DUCHESS

Good faith, good faith, the saying did not hold In him that did object the same to thee! He was the wretched’st thing when he was young, So long a-growing and so leisurely, That if this rule were true, he should be gracious.

DUCHESS

Honestly, honestly, that saying certainly didn't hold true for Richard! He was a terrible child, and took such a long time to grow up that if that rule were true, he should be a very gracious adult.

YORK

And so no doubt he is, my gracious madam.

YORK

And no doubt he is, my gracious madam.

DUCHESS

I hope he is, but yet let mothers doubt.

DUCHESS

I hope he is, but mothers can have their doubts.

YORK

Now, by my troth, if I had been remembered,I could have given my uncle’s grace a flout To touch his growth nearer than he touched mine.

YORK

Now, if I'd considered something I once heard about him, I could have scoffed at my uncle—and mocked his growth more than he mocked mine.

DUCHESS

How, my pretty York? I prithee let me hear it.

DUCHESS

How, my clever York? Let me hear your comeback.

YORK

Marry, they say my uncle grew so fast That he could gnaw a crust at two hours old. 'Twas full two years ere I could get a tooth. Grandam, this would have been a biting jest.

YORK

Well, they say that my uncle grew so fast that he could gnaw a crust of bread at two hours old. For me, it took two full years before I could get a single tooth. Grandmother, this would have been a biting joke.

DUCHESS

I prithee, pretty York, who told thee this?

DUCHESS

Please tell me, clever York, who told you this about him?

YORK

Grandam, his nurse.

YORK

His nurse, grandmother.

DUCHESS

His nurse? Why, she was dead ere thou wast born.

DUCHESS

His nurse? Why, she was dead before you were born.

YORK

If ’twere not she, I cannot tell who told me.

YORK

If it wasn't her, then I can't say who told me.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

A parlous boy! Go to, you are too shrewd.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

A cunning boy! Get out of here, you're too clever for your own good.

DUCHESS

Good madam, be not angry with the child.

DUCHESS

Good madam, don't be angry with the child.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Pitchers have ears.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Little pitchers have wide ears.

Enter a MESSENGER

ARCHBISHOP

Here comes a messenger. —What news?

ARCHBISHOP

Here comes a messenger.

[To MESSENGER] What's the news?

MESSENGER

Such news, my lord, as grieves me to report.

MESSENGER

It's news that grieves me to report, my lord.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

How doth the prince?

QUEEN ELIZABETH

How is the prince?

MESSENGER

Well, madam, and in health.

MESSENGER

Madam, he's well and in good health.

DUCHESS

What is thy news then?

DUCHESS

What's your news then?

MESSENGER

Lord Rivers and Lord Grey are sent to Pomfret,And, with them, Sir Thomas Vaughan, prisoners.

MESSENGER

Lord Rivers and Lord Grey have been sent to Pomfret, and Sir Thomas Vaughan with them. They're all prisoners.

DUCHESS

Who hath committed them?

DUCHESS

Who had them arrested?

MESSENGER

The mighty dukes, Gloucester and Buckingham.

MESSENGER

The mighty dukes of Gloucester and Buckingham.

ARCHBISHOP

For what offence?

ARCHBISHOP

For what crime?

MESSENGER

The sum of all I can, I have disclosed.Why, or for what, the nobles were committedIs all unknown to me, my gracious lord.

MESSENGER

I've told you all that I know. Why the nobles were arrested, and on what charges, is all unknown to me, my gracious lord.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

Ay me! I see the ruin of my house. The tiger now hath seized the gentle hind. Insulting tyranny begins to jut Upon the innocent and aweless throne. Welcome, destruction, blood, and massacre. I see, as in a map, the end of all.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

God help us! I see the ruin of my family. The tiger has now seized the gentle deer. Brute tyranny begins to attack the innocent, weak throne. Welcome, destruction, blood, and massacre! I can see how this will end as clearly as if I was reading it on a map.

DUCHESS

Accursèd and unquiet wrangling days, How many of you have mine eyes beheld? My husband lost his life to get the crown, And often up and down my sons were tossed For me to joy, and weep, their gain and loss. And being seated, and domestic broils Clean overblown, themselves the conquerors Make war upon themselves, brother to brother, Blood to blood, self against self. O, preposterous And frantic outrage, end thy damnèd spleen, Or let me die, to look on death no more.

DUCHESS

Oh, how many cursed and violent days of unrest have my old eyes seen? My husband lost his life to get the crown. And my sons' lives have been tossed up and down for me to rejoice over their gains and weep over their losses. And when one of them gained the throne and got rid of the domestic quarrels, now the conquerors turn on each other, making war among themselves—brother against brother, blood against blood, self against self. Oh, it's a perversion of the natural order, a frenzied outrage! Let it end—or let me die—so I won't have to see any more death.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

[to YORK] Come, come, my boy. We will to sanctuary.Madam, farewell.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

[To YORK] Come, come, my boy. We'll go take sanctuary. Madam, farewell.

DUCHESS

Stay, I will go with you.

DUCHESS

Wait, I will go with you.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

You have no cause.

QUEEN ELIZABETH

You have no reason to.

ARCHBISHOP

[to QUEEN ELIZABETH] My gracious lady, go, And thither bear your treasure and your goods. For my part, I’ll resign unto your Grace The seal I keep; and so betide to me As well I tender you and all of yours. Go. I’ll conduct you to the sanctuary.

ARCHBISHOP

[To QUEEN ELIZABETH] My gracious lady, go. And take your money and belongings with you. For my part, I'll reassign the seal I keep to you, and I'll try to take care of you and all your relatives. Go, I'll conduct you to the sanctuary.

Exeunt

Richard iii
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Matt cosby
About the Translator: Matt Cosby
Matt Cosby graduated from Amherst College in 2011, and currently works as a writer and editor for LitCharts. He is from Florida but now lives in Portland, Oregon, where he also makes art, plays the piano, and goes to dog parks.